Amazon Surprise!

So, the other day Hubby told me my Amazon order came in. I was surprised, since I had just placed an order the night before. But the books in the box weren't the ones I ordered, though they had been on my Amazon list.

I didn't see anything on the packing slip to clue me in. . . Did someone send me a surprise from Amazon?


March 05, 2008  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Reviewed: January Books

Wild Geese by Ogai Mori
Wild Geese is considered a classic in Japanese literature. I started reading Japanese fiction (modern) when we lived in Ukraine and happened upon several books. Since finding books in English was a boon, I read a lot when we were there that I may never have picked off of a library shelf in the U.S. I discovered I really enjoy Japanese lit. Wild Geese is a story of both making opportunities and just-missed opportunities. The story revolves around a student and a concubine and the people in their lives, and is not one to read when you are in a happily-ever-after mood. Then again, Japanese lit rarely is. 8/10

(Thanks for the encouragement to post, Kristen and MbG Reading Circle!)


February 01, 2008  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



2008 Hope-To-Read List

I love to read. But I've found that over the past several years of first small children, then diminished attention span, then being in school. . . I've skimmed tons of books and read very little.

Last year I posted a book list, inspired by Kristen's encouragement to PLAN our reading and SHARE the good and not-so-good books. I really like reading book summaries from others, and Kristen's and Meagan's are among my favorites. True confession: I didn't read a SINGLE one of these books cover to cover (though I skimmed most--and did read and skim others not listed there.)

Then, there is always my Amazon list--which is more of a "books and stuff that caught my eye" than it is an actual WISH list. Still, it keeps track of the books I'd like to check out from the library or read or skim. Many of the ones I've recently added are from my friends sharing what they are planning on reading this year.

Most of all, this year I'd like to spend more time reading from paper pages and less time reading from screens, as diber says.

2008 Hope-To-Read List

1. Care for the Soul: Exploring the Intersection of Psychology & Theology

2. Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers
by Gordon Neufeld

3. Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children
by Donald Van Dyken

4. When Sinners Say "I Do": Discovering the Power of the Gospel for Marriage
by Dave Harvey

5. Nurturing children in the Lord: A study guide for teachers on developing a Biblical approach to discipline
by Jack Fennema

6. Blankets
by Craig Thompson

7. Gilead: A Novel
by Marilynne Robinson

8. Foucault's Pendulum
by Umberto Eco

9. The Supper of the Lamb: A Culinary Reflection (Modern Library Paperbacks)
by Robert Farrar Capon

10. The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan

11. The Child in Christian Thought (Religion, Marriage, and Family)

12. Dealing With Disappointment: Helping Kids Cope When Things Don't Go Their Way
by Elizabeth Crary

13. Romancing the Difference: Kenneth Burke, Bob Jones University, and the Rhetoric of Religious Fundamentalism (Studies in Rhetoric and Religion)
by Camille Kaminski Lewis

14. Marks of His Wounds: Gender Politics and Bodily Resurrection
by Beth Felker Jones

What are you planning/hoping to read this year?


January 02, 2008  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Jerram Barr’s Booklist for Children

Update: Added to Lists of Bests!

This post is copied whole-cloth from Megan at Half Pint House. I had to visit her site from the library today to access it, and I really want to keep a copy easy to find online (in case her site ever goes down.) I'm copying her explanation and commentary, so those who see this booklist understand the context.

Jerram Barr's Booklist for Children

Filed under: Books & Culture — Megan at 8:15 pm on Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Jerram Barrs is a highly respected professor here at Covenant and Craig has the amazing opportunity to be his teaching assistant beginning this summer. Last fall, Craig took one of his classes in which he handed out a list of his favorite books for children and I’m posting it here, for others to see, and also so I’ll have an electronic version of it for future reference.

From Jerram: These are books most of which I read to our sons, and/or books I or they read as kids or as teens - with a few exceptions of more recently published books that I am discovering for myself, our sons and our grandchildren. I love to read good children’s books as some of the most creative writing and illustrating is done for children. The test of a well-written book is whether it is a pleasure to read it aloud. All children are different, and this is good - one may be ready to hear Narnia at 3, another not until 6 or 7, so don’t be bothered by this. All children like good illustrations, and all children like the rhymes, rhythms and sounds of verse. Make reading to them a habit at an early age and they will learn to love to read themselves. Many good books have filmed versions - occasionally I have noted these as a movie or TV series may be a helpful way to introduce children to a new level of literature. Books are listed as I thought of them, not in any systematic order. I have omitted many delightful books like those by Dr. Seuss with which most people are familiar. Happy reading!

C. S. Lewis:
The Chronicles of Narnia - depending on the child can be read from 3-6 and up

J. R. R. Tolkien:
The Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings - excellent films
The Silmarillion

Famer Giles of Ham
Roverandom - a story Tolkien made up for his own children

Meindert DeJong:
The House of Sixty Fathers
The Easter Cat
The Wheel on the School
Dirks’ Dog Bello & many other excellent books for 5 or 6 and up

Beatrix Potter:
The Tale of Benjamin Bunny
Peter Rabbit
Jemima Puddleduck & many others; don’t be surprised by death in her tales

Shel Silverstein:
Lafcadio, the Lion who Shot Back
The Giving Tree
Where the Sidewalk Ends - Poems and Drawings - & many others

Mary Norton:
The Borrowers - & series

Concordia Publishing:
The Arch Books - our favorite set of illustrated Bible Stories, many in verse

Catherine Vos:
Children’s Story Bible

Dick King Smith:
The Fox Busters - one of my favorite books
The Sheep Pig - also a movie ‘Babe’
The Mouse Butcher & several other wonderful books for 5 upwards

Lewis Carroll:
Through the Looking Glass
Alice in Wonderland
Jaberwocky & other poems - children love nonsense poetry

Julia Donaldson:
The Gruffalo - one of my grandchildren’s favorite books
The Gruffalo’s Child & other books for children 2 & up

Arnold Lobel:
Frog and Toad are Friends
Mouse Tales & many other good books for small children

Michael Bond:
A Bear Called Paddington & many others in series

Anne Holm:
I am David - this is one of the finest children’s books - also a good movie
The Hostage

Margaret Wise Brown:
The Velveteen Rabbit
Goodnight Moon
The Runaway Bunny - a great book, read by Dr. Calhoun for faculty devotion

Jan Brett:
Annie and the Wild Animals - a wonderful illustrator as well as story-teller
The Twelve Days of Christmas
The Umbrella
Jan Brett’s Christmas Treasury - & many others for 2 and up

Johann Wyss:
The Swiss Family Robinson - a classic & also a good movie

Captain Maryatt:
Children of the New Forest - a classic

J. M. Barrie:
Peter Pan - also a fine film

The Brothers Grimm:
Fairy Tales

Hans Christian Anderson:
Treasury of Fairy Stories

Michelle Magorian:
Goodnight Mr. Tom - one of the best books, an award winner, 8 and up

George MacDonald:
The Princess and the Curdie
The Princess and the Goblin
The Gifts of the Child Christ (2 volume set of short stories - Eerdmans)

R. D. Blackmore:
Lorna Doone

Nick Butterworth:
Percy’s Bumpy Ride - a friend from English L’Abri years ago
The Treasure Hunt - & many more, great for 2 and up

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings:
The Yearling

Thomas Hughes:
Tom Brown’s School Days

Mary Rayner:
Garth Pig and the Ice Cream Lady - & many more, for 2 and up

Richmal Crompton:
William - almost two dozen in boys’ series, very English and lots of fun

Barbara Euphan Todd:
Worzel Gummidge - the main character is a scarecrow

John White:
The Tower of Gerburah & other stories in his series - a believer

Roald Dahl:
Danny the Champion of the World - this is a wonderful book
George’s Marvelous Medicine
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - & many more

Rudyard Kipling:
The Jungle Book
The Second Jungle Book
Just So Stories

Ursula Leguin:
The Wizard of Earthsea
The Farthest Shore - & many others

Brian Jacques:
The Bellmaker
Lord Brocktree - & many more in series, wonderful books

Tales from the Arabian Nights
The Adventures of Robin Hood - many versions incl. one by John Steinbeck
Aesop’s Fables

Tove Jansson:
Moominsummer Madness
Moominland Midwinter & others in series

Fred Gipson:
Old Yeller

Kenneth Grahame:
The Wind in the Willows

T. H. White:
The Sword in the Stone - & series, excellent
Mistress Masham’s Repose

Jonathan Swift:
Gulliver’s Travels - find an edition with good illustrations

John Bunyan:
The Pilgrim’s Progress

B. B.:
The Wizard of Boland - & several others

Charles and Mary Lamb:
Tales from Shakespeare

Anna Sewell:
Black Beauty

Enid Bagnold:
National Velvet - also a famous movie with young Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Speare:
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
The Bronze Bow & many more

Frances Hodgson Burnett:
The Secret Garden - also a movie - a truly wonderful book
The Lost Prince
A Little Princess

E. Nesbitt:
The Treasure Seekers
The Railway Children - good movie version
Five Children and It

R. M. Rallantyne:
The Coral Island

Ed. Sara & Stephen Corin:
Stories for under 5’s, for 5’s, for 6’s etc. up to 10’s and over

Noel Streatfield:
White Boots
Thursday’s Child
Theater Shoes - & several others

H. F. Brinsmead:
Pastures of the Blue Crane

William Horwood:
Duncton Wood - a wonderful book

Henry Treece:
The Road to Miklagard
Viking’s Dawn & many others

Rosemary Sutcliffe:
The Eagle of the Ninth
The Rider on the White Horse - & many more excellent books

Baroness Orczy:
The Scarlet Pimpernel

Lloyd Alexander:
The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron - & many more in series

Owen Barfield:
The Silver Trumpet

Robert Louis Stevenson:
Treasure Island - this gave me nightmares for years as a child when read
The Black Arrow

Ted Hughes:
How the Whale Became and Other Stories

Richard Adams:
Watership Down - this is an outstanding book

Gerald Durrell:
My Family and Other Animals - an outstanding funny book & BBC TV series
The Bafut Beagles
Beasts in my Bed - & many more about his work collecting for zoos

Jean Lee Latham:
Carry on Mr. Bowditch - a true story & fine book

J. Meade Faulkner:

Alan Garner:

Katherine Patterson:
The Bridge to Terabithia

A. Rutgers van der Loeff:
Children of the Oregon Trail

Quentin Blake:
Nursery Rhyme Book - many others, wonderful illustrator

Patricia St. John:
Treasures of the Snow - also a movie
The Tanglewoods’ Secret
The Mystery of Pheasant Cottage
Star of Light
Twice Freed
Runaway - the author was a missionary & also a fine writer

A. A. Milne:
The House at Pooh Corner
When We Were Very Young
And Now We are Six - & others - fine Milne’s own version

Ian Seraillier:
The Silver Sword - an excellent book
There’s No Escape

Robert Siegal:
Alpha Centauri

Andrew Lang:
The Blue Fairy Book
The Violet Fairy Book - & Red, Green & many others in this series

Arthur Ransome:
Old Peter’s Russian Tales
Swallows and Amazons - & many others in this series

John Masefield:
The Box of Delights - made into an excellent BBC TV series
The Midnight Folk

Roger Lancelyn Green:
The Tale of Troy
Myths of the Norsemen
Tales of Ancient Egypt - & many other similar collections and adaptations

E. B. White:
The Trumpet of the Swan - this is my favorite of his books
Stuart Little
Charlotte’s Web

Henry Williamson:
Tarka the Otter

Barbara Sleigh:
Carbonel - & others

Scott O’Dell:
Island of the Blue Dolphins

Wilson Rawls:
Where the Red Fern Grows

Norman Hunter:
Count Backwerdz on the Carpet - & others

Laura Ingalls Wilder:
Little House on the Prairie - & the whole series

Madeleine L’Engle:
A Wrinkle in Time
A Wind in the Door
A Swiftly Tilting Planet

J. K. Rowling:
The Harry Potter Books - children of all ages love them

Edward Lear:
The Owl and the Pussycat - wonderul illustrated editions - & other works

Mother Goose:
Nursery Rhymes - find good illustrated editions, many available

Teenagers - many of these can be read earlier than the teens if your child loves to read

Stephen Lawhead:
Arthur - & several other good books

Madeleine L’Engle:
The Young Unicorns - & several other good books

The Odyssey - find a good illustrated edition, in poetry - for 10 and up
The Illiad

Seamus Heaney:
Beowulf - an excellent poetic tranlation of the Anglo-Saxon classic

Charles Kingley:
Westward Ho - & many others

Gene Stratton Porter:
The Girl of the Limberlost - one of my favorite books as a young teen
The Harvester
Michael O’Halloran - & several other fine books, now being republished

Anne McCaffrey:
Dragonflight - & series

Jack London:
The Call of the Wild - & movie
White Fang - & others

C. S. Forrester:
Captain Hornblower - & excellent series

Paul Gallico:
The Snow Goose
The Silent Miaow
Snowflake - & many other wonderful books

Sir Walter Scott:
Ivanhoe - & many others

James Fennimore Cooper:
The Prairie
Last of the Mohicans - & several others

Charlotte Bronte:
Jane Eyre

Emily Bronte:
Wuthering Heights

Anne Bronte:
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

Jane Austen:
Pride and Prejudice - TV series perhaps the best film adaptation of any book
Sense and Sensibility - excellent film and TV productions
Mansfield Park - filmed versions inadequate
Emma - two good films; Kate Beckinsdale the better; also Clueless!
Northanger Abbey - TV series and film
Persuasion - excellent filmed version

Charles Dickens:
Bleak House
Oliver Twist
Great Expectations
A Christmas Carol
A Tale of Two Cities -& many others

Thomas Hardy:
Under the Greenwood Tree - the only light-hearted of his novels
Tess of the D’Urbevilles - sad; others more miserable, but excellent

L. M. Montgomery:
Anne of Green Gables

Louisa May Alcott:
Little Women - & others

Mark Twain:
Huckleberry Finn
Tom Sawyer

James Herriot:
The Lord God Made Them All - & many others in series

H. Rider Haggard:
King Solomon’s Mines
Alan Quartermain
She - & others

William Shakespeare:
Henry V - start Shakespeare with this play & the outstanding movie
Much Ado about Nothing - another great movie
Romeo and Juliet - several movies including Leonardo de Caprio
Julius Caesar
Twelfth Night - fine movie with Ben Kingsley
Hamlet - great movie with Kenneth Branagh

George Orwell:
Animal Farm

A. B. Patterson:
The Man from Snowy River - Australian verse story & excellent movie

Ellis Peters:
The Brother Cadfael Mysteries - about 2 dozen excellent books, also filmed with Derek Jacobi as Cadfael, a medieval Benedictine monk and sleuth - the author declared that she was converted through her character

John Donne:
Collected Poems - dean of St. Paul’s, excellent preacher and great poet

George Herbert:
Poems - a wonderful pastor and great poet

Herman Melville:
Moby Dick

Nathaniel Hawthorne:
The Scarlet Letter

Steven Crane:
The Red Badge of Courage

Edgar Allen Poe:
Tales of Mystery and Imagination

L. B. Graham:
Beyond the Summerland
Bringer of Storms - a fine series recently begun by one of our graduates!

Edgar Rice Burroughs:
The Tarzan books - well worth reading

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
Sherlock Holmes - many in the series

C. S. Lewis:
Out of the Silent Planet
Perelandra - excellent presentations of human glory and Satan’s temptation
That Hideous Strength - excellent science fiction series

Other good booklists:
Ambleside Online
Veritas Press


September 29, 2007  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Counting Down the Days. . .

Sidenote: And while I respect not all families like Harry Potter, I echo Hubby's sentiments when he says, "Enough bytes have given their lives already to endless debates over the ostensibly pagan nature of Harry Potter and his alleged ability to turn nice kids into warlocks. I'll confine my remarks to something I wrote the other day on a blog I frequent: If your child's grasp of Christianity is so tenuous that Harry Potter can turn him to the dark side, then you have failed in your covenant duties as a parent. Further, Hogwart's is little more than a fanciful adaptation of British public school life. I think a much greater threat than children turning to witchcraft is that they may develop a desire to wear knickerbockers and speak in fruity little English voices. Now THAT is something to fear."


July 09, 2007  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Review: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. No, this book isn't about Charismatics losing their faith, but rather about a Hmong family in California navigating the medical system while caring for their little girl with epilepsy. Read the full (long) review below the fold.

Continue reading "Review: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down"


July 06, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



These Orbs of Light and Shade

"Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of Thee,
And Thou, O Lord, art more than they."

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson


May 11, 2007  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Reading Circle for Moms

The Reading Circle at Mothering By Grace finished Watership Down not long ago. Now we're gearing up to discuss Becky Bailey's book Easy to Love, Difficult to Discipline.

Honestly, the name of this book has always gotten on my nerves. Though I've started reading it several times, I haven't yet finished it. I'm looking forward to reading and discussing it with other mothers, evaluating the ideas both in light of the Bible and practicality.

Feel free to join us! The discussion starts this coming Monday, April 23. I've found the book at my local library, as well as new at Amazon and used at

Chapter 1
Chapter 2


April 19, 2007  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Poetry for Boys

As part of our homeschooling, Hubby has been reading poetry to the boys. Today he exegeted this gem from Kipling for them.

The Betrothed

“You must choose between me and your cigar.”

OPEN the old cigar-box, get me a Cuba stout,
For things are running crossways, and Maggie and I are out.

We quarrelled about Havanas—we fought o’er a good cheroot,
And I knew she is exacting, and she says I am a brute.

Open the old cigar-box—let me consider a space;
In the soft blue veil of the vapour musing on Maggie’s face.

Maggie is pretty to look at—Maggie’s a loving lass,
But the prettiest cheeks must wrinkle, the truest of loves must pass.

There’s peace in a Larranaga, there’s calm in a Henry Clay;
But the best cigar in an hour is finished and thrown away—

Thrown away for another as perfect and ripe and brown—
But I could not throw away Maggie for fear o’ the talk o’ the town!

Maggie, my wife at fifty—grey and dour and old—
With never another Maggie to purchase for love or gold!

And the light of Days that have Been the dark of the Days that Are,
And Love’s torch stinking and stale, like the butt of a dead cigar—

The butt of a dead cigar you are bound to keep in your pocket—
With never a new one to light tho’ it’s charred and black to the socket!

Open the old cigar-box—let me consider a while.
Here is a mild Manila—there is a wifely smile.

Which is the better portion—bondage bought with a ring,
Or a harem of dusky beauties, fifty tied in a string?

Counsellors cunning and silent—comforters true and tried,
And never a one of the fifty to sneer at a rival bride?

Thought in the early morning, solace in time of woes,
Peace in the hush of the twilight, balm ere my eyelids close,

This will the fifty give me, asking nought in return,
With only a Suttee’s passion—to do their duty and burn.

This will the fifty give me. When they are spent and dead,
Five times other fifties shall be my servants instead.

The furrows of far-off Java, the isles of the Spanish Main,
When they hear my harem is empty will send me my brides again.

I will take no heed to their raiment, nor food for their mouths withal,
So long as the gulls are nesting, so long as the showers fall.

I will scent ’em with best vanilla, with tea will I temper their hides,
And the Moor and the Mormon shall envy who read of the tale of my brides.

For Maggie has written a letter to give me my choice between
The wee little whimpering Love and the great god Nick o’ Teen.

And I have been servant of Love for barely a twelvemonth clear,
But I have been Priest of Cabanas a matter of seven year;

And the gloom of my bachelor days is flecked with the cheery light
Of stumps that I burned to Friendship and Pleasure and Work and Fight.

And I turn my eyes to the future that Maggie and I must prove,
But the only light on the marshes is the Will-o’-the-Wisp of Love.

Will it see me safe through my journey or leave me bogged in the mire?
Since a puff of tobacco can cloud it, shall I follow the fitful fire?

Open the old cigar-box—let me consider anew—
Old friends, and who is Maggie that I should abandon you?

A million surplus Maggies are willing to bear the yoke;
And a woman is only a woman, but a good Cigar is a Smoke.

Light me another Cuba—I hold to my first-sworn vows.
If Maggie will have no rival, I’ll have no Maggie for Spouse!

--Rudyard Kipling

Rumor has it A.A. Milne poems will be featured next week, in honor of R-almost-8's birthday.


February 15, 2007  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Dorothy Parker on Drinking

I like to have a Martini
Two at the very most
After three I'm under the table
After four I'm under my host

--Dorothy Parker

(Via Wiki)


January 15, 2007  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Plan Better. Read More. Share More.


Mike and Kristen at This Classical Life are encouraging thoughtfulness and reading with their TCL 2007 reading challenge.

Plan Better. Read More. Share More.

That's the motto, and honestly, what I'ld like to do this year. My reading the past several years has been quite haphazard. Now that we are in the land of public libraries with books in English, I'm wont to grab interesting books off of the shelf, bring them home, skim (or not) and return them. Snacking, not reading.

Right now it's hard for me to plan my reading. Hmmmm. . . Going to have to think about it and add to or ammend this list. I'll start off with some books on our shelves I've always been meaning to read and are appealing to me this year. Or I've already started and would really like to finish.

1. What To Listen For in Music
2. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction
3. The Child in Christian Thought
4. Hold On To Your Kids
5. Care of the Soul
6. French Women Don't Get Fat
7. Rediscovering Catechism
8. The Last Puritan
9. Crooked Little Hart
10. Nurturing Children in the Lord
11. Blankets
12. Gilead


January 14, 2007  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Boys Love Books

Amy, who loves books, loves us.


October 14, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Sarasota Book Lovers

For the bibliophiles in the Sarasota area, here are some of the tips and tricks I use to get ahold of good reading materials.

1. Sarasota County Libraries
We like to go to Selby downtown for a "fun" excursion. The aquarium in the children's section is captivating. I hate the angled staircases up to the nonfiction section, however--they had weirdly angled staircases at the old Selby, too. I always felt like I was going to be sick when walking down them.
Fruitville is very child-friendly and has friendly librarians to boot. It probably has the best AV section and as it is just off of I75, is very convenient.
Gulf Gate library is small and homey, and the best for running quick errands. This is the library where I pay my fines because they are friendly and don't make me feel pariah for having overdue books.
While there are other locations, these are the three we frequent. Each of them have used bookstores run by the Friends of the Library.
Along with physical trips to the library, I do a lot of book reservations (and renewals) online. When a book isn't in the Sarasota County library book catalog, I put in a request and then visit AlleyCat.

2. AlleyCat
As it's slogan says, "A Couple of Clicks, Millions of Picks." This is a great resource, as it draws from public and academic libraries in this region of Florida. Hubby has used it for books he's needed to read for grad school, but weren't worth purchasing for his professional library. I've also found it useful for requesting older children's books that are recommended in homeschool resources and for books that are from Christian publishers. They are delivered for pickup to whichever local library I request--all at no charge! I usually do school planning with Homeschool Tracker, SCLIBS and AlleyCat all open, and request books as I plan.

3. Goodwill Bookstore
If you are local and haven't visited this bookstore, it's a must. The children's section has a good stock of homeschool texts and supplements, at least last time I stopped in. The prices aren't dirt cheap, but are very decent.

4. The Main Bookshop
A Sarasota icon, the Main Bookshop has been a key date destination since Hubby and I were first together. One Thanksgiving our post-dinner recreation was going in and buying Christmas presents for the entire family in one fell swoop. We spent our last anniversary browsing the Main, as the weather was too cranky to allow a walk along the beach.

5. A. Parker's Bookstore
Also a wonderful place to browse downtown, Parker's caters to rare and specialty books. I still regret I didn't buy a book of the stories behind nursery rhymes from Parker's.

6. The Living Word
One of the managers is Reformed Baptist and takes the extra effort to stock quality books, along with the kitsch stuff. They also have a decent section of homeschool materials from a range of publishers. Good service.


August 25, 2006  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Book Meme

I've seen this going around a lot lately, and was just tagged!

1. One book that changed your life:

Maybe an odd choice and not the most significant book I've ever read, but the info and timing of Mary Pride's original Big Book of Homeschooling which I read in 10th grade pointed me in a whole new direction.

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Like many bloggers, I’ve read a lot of books more than once! But ones I return to at least a couple of times a decade are the Anne books by L. M. Montgomery.

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
Bible, definitely. I know some people are listing one book other than the Bible, but I can't imagine being stranded without the Psalms.

4. One book that made you laugh:

Operating Instructions, Anne Lamott

5. One book that made you cry:
Little Pilgrim's Progress, read aloud to the boys

6. One book that you wish had been written:
Children in the Covenant: The Theological, Philosophical, and Practical Implications

7. One book you wish had never been written:

I've seen Babywise listed more than any other single title. *L* But I'll still join in wishing Gary Ezzo had never opened a word doc.

8. One book you’re currently reading:
Hubby's military sci-fi manuscript, reading and editing.

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity
David Allen. More.

10. Now tag five people:

Barbara Curtis (I know you're busy writing, but being the book-lover you are. . . well, I wanted to invite you to join in!) Barbara takes a break from her current book to blog with us about books!

Carmon Friedrich, another bibliophile (I didn't see that you had done this one yet.)

The College Girls ('Cause we all know college girls like to hit the books.)
Woohoo, Dr. Camille joins in!

Book-lovin' Becca (Maybe books will get you back to blogging!)

The Seven Realms (This is one I think would be really interesting!) And he doesn't disappoint!


August 14, 2006  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Book Meme - Done By J10

I printed out the questions for the book meme that is going around for our oldest son. Here are his answers, unprompted and unedited:

1. One book that changed your life:

Harry Potter 1 (He explained, it was the first real book he read all by himself.)

2. One book that you’ve read more than once:
Island of the Blue Dolphins

3. One book you’d want on a desert island:
World Military Power

4. One book that made you laugh:

5. One book that made you cry:
The Wide Window (He told me that he hadn't cried reading any book, that he could remember, but this one made him very sad.)

6. One book that you wish had been written:
The Kid Conservative: The Kids Guide to Building a Club

7. One book you wish had never been written:

Stupid White Men (Not that he's read it--he's just seen it on our shelf and knows he doesn't like Michael Moore.)

8. One book you’re currently reading:
World Military Power

9. One book you’ve been meaning to read:
The War Against Iraq


August 14, 2006  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Climbing in Bed with a Book

Feeling yuckier today than yesterday. I overdid it yesterday, but I wouldn't have missed Andrew's graduation for anything. (Pics later, I hope.) But now it's time for me to crawl in bed with a book. I have a new theological text to read, thanks to Tim Challies.

I'm feeling too nauseated to drink coffee. Bummer. But at least I have a good book.

Update: The book is good. But my concentration is shot. Ugh. Sipping Good Earth tea that Kristen sent me, and I've been saving for the right time.


May 20, 2006  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Of Books and Bands Unheard Of

So I went to the local Christian bookstore tonight. . . I like it, in spite of some of the cheesiness that is inevitable these days in Christian bookstores. It helps that a manager there goes to our neighborhood PCA and consciously stocks books I'd like to buy.

Anyway, there's a systematic theology I've heard about. While I adore Berkof, I wanted to get another perspective as well. I couldn't remember the authors name. "Grudem?" asked Skip.
"Nooo. . ."
"Oh, Reymond?"

He showed me to the last one in stock. Yikes. I forgot the price tags that come along with books like that. I bought it anyway, thanks justifying that I might not get a 20% off coupon from Skip again, and that my folks sent me a birthday check a few weeks ago. (That birthday money also bought me new jammies. And a couple trips to the local coffee shop. And a few other things. It's the gift that keeps on giving. Or at least, keeps on letting me find room in the budget for splurge buys. . . *L*)

After that I wandered back to the music section. While I've enjoyed a wide range of music through the years, I've only allowed myself to be called a fan of The Choir. They recently released a new album. I couldn't find it. I asked the guy in the music section where I'd find it.

"The Choir? That's the group?"
"Yes, The Choir. O How the Mighty Have Fallen."
"Do you mean the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?"
"No. Just The Choir."
"Hmmm. . . They must be an older group."
"You've never heard of The Choir? They're classic. Mid-80s SoCal alternative Christian pioneers?"
"No. . ."

I was shaking my head. The music "expert" for the store had never heard of The Choir. And I was feeling my age. Especially after his, "They must be an older group" comment. I had picked up "At the Foot of the Cross" and asked him if he was familiar with that. He was. I pointed out that Steve Hindalong was the producer, Steve Hindalong the lyricist and percussionist for the Choir. Blank look.

He looked it up on the computer. That store had never ordered, stocked, or sold a single Choir CD. The mind boggles. I told him he had to order something, just for his own listening edification.

I guess I'll just order it directly from Dan, Derri, and Steve. I bet this birthday check could stretch infinitely.

Remind me one day of swooning around Steve's parents and my "I'm a greedy little monkey" story.


April 08, 2006  |  Comments (12)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire will be released in theatres this Friday, November 19th. Get ready for the next round of nay-sayers and controversy. . .

I came across a neat HP related blog the other day, Sword of Gryffindor. (HT to someone. . . When I remember who--thank you!)

I'm looking forward to this movie. And depending on how it's made, looking forward to bringing my boys to see it.


November 12, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Harry Potter Just Arrived!

I was hoping-hoping-hoping it would arrive today!

But was still surprised it did.

Good job,!


July 16, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



First of Many

The first of my friends to finish the new Harry Potter book.

Here's their spoiler thread.

I haven't read the book or the thread yet. I like surprises.

Last time a HP book was released, I had friends stateside who ordered it from Amazon and had it arrive the day it was released. So, I'm hopeful. . . We had to wait nearly two months before it was released in Kyiv in English, and then paid full price.

I'm really looking forward to this book, though I want to have mid-level expectations so I'm not disappointed.


July 16, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Really Cool Library Sites

Oooh, oooh, oooh!

I can now request the hard-to-find-niche-publisher books that I've been wanting to read and not wanting to buy yet. (Read: Reformed books not available at the library.)

I don't know whether these sites work only within Florida or are nationwide. But they're cool.





July 01, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Most of All, Jesus Loves You: A Diet of Bookworms Review

Several evenings in a row, I have snuggled in bed with my youngest, reading Then every night Mama says, "Good night, and remember. . ."

Like any good bedtime book, Most of All, Jesus loves You has comforting rhythm and repetition. Noel Piper writes like a mother that has read many bedtime stories through the years.

While bold and colorful, Debby Anderson keeps the illustrations in this book peaceful.

Small children thrive in an atmosphere of love and routine--I think this book is a great aid in building both of those.

This is a review of Most of All, Jesus Loves You by Noel Piper and Debby Anderson. This book was provided through Diet of Bookworms as a gift from the publisher.

Related: Read my oldest son's review of this book and more DoB reviews.


June 24, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



God Knows My Name: A Diet of Bookworms Review

Woven throughout God Knows My Name are the attributes of God and what they may look like on a child's level, in day to day life. Especially emphasized are God's sovereignty and His immanence.

God sees me when I go out to play! yay! God is too wonderful for me to see Him now, but He sees me!

Each page has unobtrusive Scripture references for parents to look up with their children, or to encourage older children to read for themselves.

While I grew up with the Eloise Wilkin's tender pictures in children's books, I really like author/illustrator Debby Anderson's cheerful, bold style. The book is energetic, without being overwhelming.

I'm happy to have this book on my children's bookshelf. And with the theme of the attributes of God, I think it would be an especially fine gift for the children of new Believers.

This is a review of God Knows My Name by Debby Anderson. This book was provided through Diet of Bookworms as a gift from the publisher.

Related: Read my oldest son's review of this book.


June 24, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Book Reviews by J8

Thanks to Diet of Bookworms, I have several Crossway children's books to review. I'll be posting my reviews as well as ones written by my oldest son, J8. These are his first two book reviews ever.

God Knows My Name
by Debbie Anderson

Personally, I think that it is short but good. And is recommended for ages 2 to 5. It will tell you in many different wys of how God knows everything.

Most of All, Jesus Loves You

by Noel Piper, Illustrated by Debby Anderson

I like that it says your family loves you but God loves you more. And is recommended for ages 2 to 5.


June 24, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Reading and Mothering

As asked on a previous post:

As a mother of 4 how do you find the time to read so many books?

Wellll. . . I only started reading "real" books again about a year and a half ago. To be honest, there was a period in which I only had the focus to turn pages in magazines looking at the pictures.

Now that I have the desire and ability to read again, I just seem to work it in. After the kids are in bed, I like to soak in the tub and read. Or sprawl on the bed and read. Or sit near Hubby as he does his projects and read.

Books on tape are great for the car. I listened to The Secret Life of Bees during the solo drive from IL last week. The boys and I are listening to The Hobbit.

I read aloud to the kids. (Though not as much as I'd like.) Little Pilgrims Progress and The Chronicles of Narnia are favorites for that.

I've read books while cooking. Making jam and jelly provides for good reading time as you stir, stir, stir.

When I was nursing, I tried to find good pick-up-put-down books. Elisabeth Eliot's Keep a Quiet Heart was good for that.

Hubby reads everywhere he goes. He doesn't walk outside the house without a book. This gave him a lot of reading time when we were in Ukraine--on the metro, walking, riding in taxis.

I was an avid reader when I was a kid. I think when you're always trying to find more reading time as a kid, it's easier to find time as an adult.

Personally, I'm never able to read and watch the kids at the playground at the same time. I'm not THAT good at multitasking.

I know I have many bibliophiles reading here--how do y'all make time to read?


June 18, 2005  |  Comments (25)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Challies Giveaway--Two CDs and a Book!

June Giveaway

This draw is open to anyone, anywhere in the world and runs from now until June 23, 2005 (12:00 PM EST). Two equal prizes will be awarded based on a random drawing from all entries received. Each prize is a copy of Pilgrim Days: Indelible Grace II CD, a copy of For all the Saints: Indelible Grace III CD and a copy of Twentysomeone by Craig Dunham & Doug Serven.

Btw, Twentysomeone is co-authored by the husband of my blogging-and-moving friend, Megan. *grin* Small world, huh? (Oh, and Craig and Doug have their own blog, too.)

So go ahead--enter Tim's drawing. You know you want to. You might even win (like I did in February!) My referral ID is 70971.


June 17, 2005  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



In the Review Queue

Diet of Bookworms:
Big Truths for Little Kids: Teaching Your Children to Live for God
Hymns for a Kid's Heart (Great Hymns of Our Faith)
Most of All, Jesus Loves You
Big Picture Story Bible
God Knows My Name

Mind and Media:
Natural Law
Boundaries of Technique
The Thinking Toolbox
Connecting With Your Kids
Unlock the Prison Doors (Reviewed 06/30/2005)

Do you judge a book by its cover? See them here.


June 16, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Narnia Goodies


Narnia Downloads (via Miss O'Hara)

The Stone Table (Via Today's Lessons)


June 09, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



J8's Reading List

I kept meticulous records of what I read when I homeschooled in high school. I hadn't kept track of what I read before then--or very much since. I currently have a program on my blog (thanks to Tim) that lists my Amazon wishlist and the books I've read. It's been great.

I remember coming across my high school reading list a few years ago. It was so cool to read through the titles. I fondly remembered some of the books, and was surprised that I had read others (which were quickly forgotten.)

So, ever since J8 started reading I've tried to help him keep track of what he's read. He reads so fast, though, that it's been hard to do that (for him or me!)

I think I've found a system now for keeping up with it. On his daily homeschool checklist is now "Update Book List." All he has to do is pile the books on my desk and I spend a few minutes entering them into an Amazon "wishlist." But rather than a list of what he wants, it's a list of what he's read. The date I enter it is marked next to the book which provides a loose gauge of when he read it. We started this at the end of April, but have only recently been keeping it updated.

So, want to see what my oldest's reading interests are?

J8's Reading List

Update: Sparrow mentioned that she is redirected to her own wishlist instead of J8's. I changed the direct link, and if you still can't access it try to put "J8" in the search box where it says "Search for a Wishlist."


June 07, 2005  |  Comments (7)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



More on Books. . .

We're on a roll here. . . Books, books, books. Tracy of The Secret of Living tagged me earlier this week with this book meme. Of course, I couldn't resist!

1) Total books owned, ever: Impossible to answer. Really, I'm clueless. Hubby and I used to joke that the reason we married was to join our two libraries. We seriously stripped our book collection when we moved overseas. I was shocked when we got back to the States to see how many we had kept. Right now we have about 50 shelves in 10 bookcases filled, and some boxes in the garage of books we don't want to put out for young, reading eyes.

2) Last book I bought: A couple of motherhood memoirs at the library book sale in Illinois. Actually, my sis bought those for me because I didn't have a dollar. The last book that I actually purchased was a book for my sister, Bountiful, Beautiful, Blissful .

3) Last book I read: Finished? A Live Coal In The Sea by Madeleine L'Engle. Currently reading books on my booklist.

4) Five books that mean a lot to me.
1. The Bible. Right now I'm sticking in the Psalms. Again.
2. Berkhof's Systematic Theology. It leads my heart to worship.
3. I'm going to come back to this one and answer it more completely later.

5) Tag five people: Camille. Eric. Valerie. Brian. Mollie.


May 30, 2005  |  Comments (10)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Unlock the Prison Doors: A Mind and Media Review

I usually don't just open a book to page one and start reading.

First I read the back cover, skimming over the book reviewers' quotes. Then I read the front flap summary and back flap author bio. Then the dedication. And thanks and preface and table of contents.

I like to get my feet thoroughly wet before jumping into a pool, too.

So even before I started reading the main text of Unlock the Prison Doors: Keys to Breaking the Chains of Habitual Sin, I knew it would be hard to give Terry Barber's book a favorable review.

While Pastor Barber has many years of experience--and I especially respect the time he and his family have ministered in Turkey--his educational background is less than I expected. I'm autodidactic myself, so degrees are not everything to me. However, I am on alert when I don't see a degree from a seminary which I respect.

Then the first resource credited in the acknowledgements is Bill Gothard. The big Bill G., fount of principles and legalisms. My scriptural-principle-and-corny-diagram detector was on high alert after that.

And Pastor Barber doesn't let us down.

His book is divided into fifteen chapters, one for each of the "Keys" he's teaching, like Key Six: Spiritual Laws. In a Gothardesque way, Pastor Barber expounds on the "Cycle of Sin" and "Cycle of Righteousness," keys four and five respectively. Chapter seven even has a diagram including an umbrella of authority.

By this point I was unwilling to consider this book as a reliable resource.

Perhaps this is all simply a matter of expectations and perceptions. I was expecting a more theologically oriented book on sanctification, with sound exegesis and ideas on practical application on "breaking free from habitual sin."

Instead, this book is written in a warm and conversational style. Pastor Barber's desire to help comes through clearly. Yet, perhaps that informal touch comes across too strongly with the "Uncle Ebee" stories. I'd rather hear an author share from the heart their personal struggles with sin and how they found God to be faithful, than to hear folksy vignettes. In and example of victory over lust, I don't want to hear of a fictitious Uncle Ebee looking at a girl in a bikini. What about sharing the real struggles, dependence upon God, and breaking free from sin?

That said I do want to point out some good things in this book. First, instead of merely giving Scripture references, Pastor Barber frequently quotes the full text of Bible verses. How can a reader but be blessed when he is reading from the Word of God?

Also Pastor Barber continually points people to Christ, reaffirming the Gospel and our need for God. He didn't seem to fall into the trap of "Implement these Biblical principles I've discovered, and succeed!"

In summary, I don't doubt that God can use this book to help people. But it's not a resource I'd particularly recommend for a theological understanding of sanctification or real help in our struggle with sin.

This is a review of Unlock the Prison Doors: Keys to Breaking the Chains of Habitual Sin by Pastor Terry Barber. This book was provided through Mind and Media as a gift from the publisher.

Read more about this book at Diet of Bookworms.


May 30, 2005  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Books and Stuff. . .

We were still in Kyiv when Mind and Media (aka first began. Of course I was intrigued, but waited until returning to the States before participating.

So, I was pretty excited to recieve my first Mind and Media book in Friday's mail. I chose to review it because the title and cover caught my eye. (Who doesn't judge a book by its cover?) Within moments of opening the book, I realized it would be difficult to write a glowing review. I'm disappointed about that. But M&M said go ahead and write a review. So I did.

Veering to another topic, Hubby's unpacked and organized most of our music. We worked and unpacked more boxes while listening to Skankin' Pickle tonight. This cd has great cover graphics, as well as catchy music.

And I finished reading the Madeleine L'Engle book Hubby picked up for me at a library book sale earlier this week. Her writing in this book doesn't have the musical rhythm that it does in other ones, but it still made me cry. Mercy, mercy was the theme and went straight to the heart.

Madeleine is one of the names on my short-list for a girl.

I'm also reading Lawrence Cohen's Playful Parenting and Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies right now. Both very uplifting.

I have my collection of cookbooks in the kitchen now. I didn't bring any to Kyiv with me, thinking I could rely on the old stand-bys that didn't need recipes as well as google. Boy, was I wrong. I inherited a tiny Betty Crocker paperback from a bachelor (along with a great assortment of spices!) And in time, found a couple to buy over there. Today I skimmed through Through the Enchanted Broccoli Forest. My, Mollie Katzen sure does know how to inspire one to enjoy cooking and eating! I love her writing style and her illustrations and asides.

We still had a very straight-forward tuna noodle casserole tonight. Comfort food.


May 29, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Poetry Study Guides

Study guides for the poetry of Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

(Via Carmon.)


April 30, 2005  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Goodies from CE/P

Acquired from the CE/P Bookstore:

* Pilgrim Days: Indelible Grace II
Recommended by Marsupial Mom.

* Rediscovering Catechism: The Art of Equipping Covenant Children
Pastor OKCalvin has reminded me my four boys need consistent catechizing.

* Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
To replace the copy Hubby gave Dan.


April 22, 2005  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Library Happiness

I got my library card today! Actually, I was still in the library system, so they just had to update my info and issue me a new card. (I was surprised I didn't have any fines from nearly a decade ago!)

I've been having so much fun looking through my Amazon wishlist and choosing books to request. *grin* I've missed the library.

I picked up a Carl Hiaasen book today. He's a Florida crime fiction author. Not a genre I often read, but Hiaasen is a great writer and portrays Florida in a humorous and earthy way.

So, what are you reading? Anything that I should request online from my library?


April 16, 2005  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Where Go The Boats?

Where Go The Boats?

DARK brown is the river.
Golden is the sand.
It flows along for ever,
With trees on either hand.

Green leaves a-floating,
Castles of the foam,
Boats of mine a-boating—
Where will all come home?

On goes the river
And out past the mill,
Away down the valley,
Away down the hill.

Away down the river,
A hundred miles or more,
Other little children
Shall bring my boats ashore

A Child’s Garden of Verses evokes memories and sweet emotions. I remember reading an old book of poetry that was my mother's when she was a child, a collection of poetry and stories, that included several poems by Robert Lewis Stevenson.


March 01, 2005  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Total Truth Giveaway!

Update: Tim has announced the winners! Enjoy your new book, Bob R. & G. Clarke. Tim also mentioned he'll be announcing a new giveaway in a few days.

Update: Tim has now posted his review of Total Truth. Hurry--you still have a day and a half to enter the drawing!

Have you ever heard of a New Year's Resolution to give away books? This month Tim is featuring and giving away Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey.

"In today’s cultural etiquette, it is not considered polite to mix public and private, or sacred and secular. This division is the single most potent force keeping Christianity contained in the private sphere—stripping it of its power to challenge and redeem the whole of culture."

Enter the drawing here. Please use 20079 as the referral ID.

One of Tim's specialties is book reviews, and so when you have the time check out the Book Review Archives.


January 16, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



At the Opera

Tonight we went to the National Opera House for a performance of La Bohème, went out for coffee and walked along Khreshatyk.

top hat.JPG

I recently finished reading Bel Canto (recommended by Megan and amazingly found at the Stoned Baboon.) As I watched the audience during the intermissions, I picked out which ones were true opera lovers like some of the characters in the book.

And while there were no Yushchenko, Tak! scarves, orange was very prominent on stage last night. Hubby has more photos and thoughts up.


January 08, 2005  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Book Meme

Via Eric over at Fire Ant Gazette: Here's how it works. Copy the list, then remove from it the names of any authors not in your home library, replacing them with names of authors you have. Boldface the ones you’ve added.

1. Louis Berkhof
2. Graham Greene
3. Henry James
4. Anne Lamott
5. Sir Walter Scott
6. Peggy Noonan
7. John Irving
8. Susan Hunt
9. Asne Seirerstad
10. William Shakespeare

Yikes. I guess Eric and I don't have a lot of bookshelf overlap, or at least meme overlap. I picked authors to add that I've had in my hands lately.


January 06, 2005  |  Comments (19)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Narcissus and Goldmund

Last night I finished reading Hermann Hesse's Narcissus and Goldmund. I wanted to quote my favorite passage from it, but already leant it out to a friend.

I google'd for an essay analyzing some of the themes and images in the book, and found very little, apart from websites that provide term papers for a fee. How dumb does a student have to be to buy a research paper online? Don't they know how easy it is to discover plagiarism? A quick google search uncovers all but the most skilled word-stealing. And then there are special websites and computer programs that help identify more subtle plagiarism. What kind of screwball plagiarises the work of another and claims it as his own? If you're going to take the time to go to school or university, at least put out the effort to learn and do your own work. . .

I never did find the sort of Hesse analysis I wanted to read.

Anyway, last year I tried each month to list all the books I was reading. I wasn't as consistent as I wanted to be. While it's not quite time for New Year's resolutions, that's one thing I'm going to again attempt in 2005.

Back to Hesse. . . I haven't yet read Camille Paglia's Sexual Personae, but Hubby's talked to me about some of Paglia's themes and says it'll make a great follow up to Narcissus and Goldmund.


December 23, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Globe

We're on a first name basis with the girls who work at "The Globe".

It's an English bookstore about the size of a normal bathroom, but chock full of books. It's weird what ends up there--Tolkien and Harry Potter definitely, a smattering of DK and travel books, Penguin classics and then a weird assortment of red-lined overstocks. . .

Not having an English langauge library and a more narrow selection of books available has done some interesting things to my reading habits. I've discovered and revisited some classics and I read a bit of modern Brit Lit.

But I've surprisingly discovered that I quite enjoy current post-modern Japanese literature.


December 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Life Imitates Art

"Life comes before literature, as the material always comes before the work. The hills are full of marble before the world blooms with statues." --Phillips Brooks

Do you ever have dripping-with-irony weeks? The past few have been like that here. There are so many things going on internally and externally in my life, and then I read something or experience something that just seems too. . . too contrived, almost. Irony at it's finest. Feeling like I'm living out the plot of a postmodern novel or French movie. Surreal.

(Quote via Brandywine Books)


December 15, 2004  |  Comments (2)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Cool New Bookstore

One of my favorite websites, Monergism has just expanded in include an online bookstore, Monergism Books.

On the main Monergism site, you'll find free articles and books on a myriad of topics coming from various Reformed and Covenantal viewpoints. Also, find sermons and study guides on just about any Bible passage. Excellent resource for study or browsing.

Already at Monergism Books I see tons of books I'ld love to have fill my bookshelves. I'm really happy they've expanded to include this new resource.

(Via Challies)


December 02, 2004  |  Comments (1)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



A Hobbit Jig

Oh you can search far and wide
You can drink the whole ground dry
But you'll never find a beer so brown
As the one we drink in our home town...
You can keep your fancy ales!
You can drink them by the flagon!
But the only brew for the brave and truuuuuueee
comes from the Green Dragon!

My boys love Merry and Pippin's jig that they sing and dance in the Golden Hall in Rohan. They've watched and re-watched this scene while dancing on my bed.

They didn't quite have all the words straight, so they asked me to look them up for them.


October 30, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



God's Awful Love

‘Oh,’ the priest said, ‘that’s another thing altogether—God is love. I don’t say the heart doesn’t feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn’t recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us—God’s love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn’t it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.’

--the priest in Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory

Hubby read this book last year and wrote about it in The Whisky Priest in Us All. I just finished The Power and the Glory, and I like it as much as the first Greene novel I read, Travels with my Aunt.


October 26, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink




Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.

Oh dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.

Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again tho' cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago.

--Christina Rossetti


September 23, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Blogs on Books

Tim at Challies is is predicting 2005 Christian Bestsellers including, these family-focused favorites:

The Even Newer Dare To Discipline by James Dobson (The first 10,000 copies will include your choice of either a switch or a paddle autographed by Dobson himself.)
How To Alienate and Emotionally Starve Your Child God's Way by Gary Ezzo
Child At Heart by John Eldredge

FarmWife Andrea, avoiding satire, is sharing some insights from Cloud & Townsend's Raising Great Kids.

Carol captures the antagonistic attitude of the Pearls as she provides quotes and commentary on To Train Up a Child.

And Sam, curled up with a book in her cabin, is musing on the ideas about autism and asperger's in A Mind Apart.


August 28, 2004  |  Comments (9)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Looking for a few used books. . .

In early September, a short-term team will be coming help with a Family Conference. Hubby and I went to a bookstore that sells Christian books in Russian, and bought several to lend out. (Books here, added August 19th.) We were familiar with most of the authors, but had only read a few of the books.

If anyone has one of the astericked books on their bookshelf, and you don't intend to re-read it, we'd love to have it! We much prefer to have read a book before lwe loan it out. E-mail me @ alex8b8 at hotmail dot com for a mailing address.

**To A Thousand Generations by Douglas Wilson

Reforming Marriage by Douglas Wilson

Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women by Linda Cochrane

Relational Parenting: Going Beyond Your Child's Behavior to Meet Their Deepest Needs by Ross Campbell M.D.

**How to Really Know Your Child: Help Your Child Grow into Spiritual Maturity (Relationships) by Ross Campbell

**Kids in Danger: Disarming the Destructive Power of Anger in Your Child by Ross Campbell

**Parenting Your Adult Child: How You Can Help Them Achieve Their Full Potential by Ross Campbell

**The Freedom & Power of Forgiveness by John MacArthur

**The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary D. Chapman

**The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage (Sproul, R. C. R.C. Sproul Library.) by R. C. Sproul

**Inside Out: 10th Anniversary by Lawrence J. Crabb

**The Other Side of Love: Handling Anger in a Godly Way by Gary D. Chapman

**Intended for Pleasure: Sex Technique and Sexual Fulfillment in Christian Marriage, Third Edition by Ed Wheat

**Beloved Unbeliever by Jo Berry

Like I said, we haven't read most of these books, so this list is not necessarily an endorsement. These were the ones that were available in Russian and looked most promising.


August 19, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From The Silver Chair

"One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one thing more to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things -- trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say."

To the Lady of the Green Kirtle, the Queen of Underland;
in The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis

Immediately after reading this passage to the boys, I called Hubby in and read it to him. I was so moved by Puddleglum's staunch pronouncement of fealty to The Lion.

And while I believe Biblical Christianity to be objectively true and in line with the reality we can observe in this world, in my heart I would embrace the God of the Bible for His love, grace, holiness, and sovereignty--even if it were simply make-believe, because it is so full of richness compared to the hollowness of this world.

Jeff, of the Dawn Treader, seems to be reading the Chronicles of Narnia at about the same pace we are. He recently posted about this same chapter, but from the angle of faith and obedience.


June 25, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



Got Research?

"No research supports either of these approaches as reasonable for newborns."

--Jennifer Cox, M. D. writing about Babywise and Secrets of the Baby Whisperer in Got Time? published by the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

(Via Ezzo.Info)


May 26, 2004  |  Comments (0)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



The Swing

How do you like to go up in a swing,
Up in the air so blue?
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
Ever a child can do!

Up in the air and over the wall,
Till I can see so wide,
River and trees and cattle and all
Over the countryside--

Till I look down on the garden green,
Down on the roof so brown--
Up in the air I go flying again,
Up in the air and down!

From Child's Garden of Verses


May 26, 2004  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



From Hubby

Reflections on 5 Years in the PCA


May 13, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Happily Ever After. . .

From WorldMagBlog:

Here's a Saturday afternoon contest. . . "What's your favorite ending to a book?" Best conclusions will receive blog laud and honor.

I like this idea. I'll have to think about it, though.


May 08, 2004  |  Comments (14)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



March Book List, Belated

I didn't keep as close track as I want to of the books I read in March. It was significantly fewer than January and February. This post is a public reminder that I need to track down what the boys and I read and record it.


April 16, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Little Lamb

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bade thee feed
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee;
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee;
He is called by they name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild,
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!

--William Blake

For Lenise


March 29, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Poetry of Playing

A Good Play

We built a ship upon the stairs
All made of the back-bedroom chairs,
And filled it full of sofa pillows
To go a-sailing on the billows.

We took a saw and several nails,
And water in the nursery pails;
And Tom said, “Let us also take
An apple and a slice of cake;”—
Which was enough for Tom and me
To go a-sailing on, till tea.

We sailed along for days and days,
And had the very best of plays;
But Tom fell out and hurt his knee,
So there was no one left but me.

This evening the boys had a blanket thrown over their jungle gym, and pillows and boxes piled around it. Definitely the very best of plays.

Tonight while snuggling with R5, I read R.L. Stevenson to him. These poems colored my growing up years, and it brings such joy to share them with my children.


March 19, 2004  |  Comments (4)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



To Be King. . .

"For this is what it means to be a king: to be first in every desperate attack and last in every desperate retreat, and when there's hunger in the land (as must be now and then in bad years) to wear finer clothes and laugh louder over a scantier meal than any man in your land."
from The Horse and His Boy, C. S. Lewis

We just finished the fourth of the Chronicles of Narnia, that I'm reading aloud to the boys. I was so moved by this--oh that the leaders of our countries had the attitude and strength of King Lune!

Update: More quotes from recent reads are posted by Hubby, and MarsupialMom, .


March 16, 2004  |  Comments (3)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



February Books

Finished Reading

"Families Where Grace is In Place" Jeff VanVonderen
"Travels With My Aunt" Graham Greene
"The Hobbit" J. R. R. Tolkein
"21 Balloons" William Penn du Bois
"The Paper Eater" Liz Jensen
"Redeeming Love" Francine Rivers
"Catering to Nobody" Diane Mott Davidson
"Pippi Goes on Board" Astrid Lindgren
"Mary Poppins" P. L. Travers
"The Book of Three" Lloyd Alexander (reread)
"The Black Cauldron" Lloyd Alexander
The Secret Country Trilogy Pamela Dean

Still Reading

"Relational Parenting" Ross Campbell
"Lizard" Banana Yoshimoto
"The Birth of A New Physics" J. Bernard Cohen
"Desiring God" John Piper
"Heartfelt Discipline" Clay Clarkson


"Looking Forward"

Read With the Boys

"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" C. S. Lewis
"The Horse and His Boy" C. S. Lewis
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" J. K. Rowling (Hubby still reading

J7 Finished Reading
"The Hobbit" J. R. R. Tolkein
"A Boy At War" Harry Mazer (reread)
"Homer Price" Robert McCloskey
"Babe Ruth" Len Canter
"Pippi Goes on Board" Astrid Lindgren
"The Queen's Smuggler: William Tyndale" Dave & Neta Jackson
"Mary Poppins" P. L. Travers
"Disaster!" Mary McIntosh
"The Saggy, Baggy Elephant"
"My First Space Book" Dinah L. Moche
"The Saga of Sweet Basil" Ray Broekel
"The Book of Three" Lloyd Alexander
"The Black Cauldron" Lloyd Alexander
"The Return of the Indian" Lynne Reid Banks
"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" L. Frank Baum
"The Titanic Lost and Found"
J7 has read other books. . . He just doesn't like writing them down for me!

T6's February Favorite

"Tiger Tales and Big Cat Stories"


March 02, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



I'm getting ready to post our February book record (I wish I kept track of all the books I read since childhood) and came across Tenn's list.

Wow! What a reader! Just in the last few months I've gotten to the point where I don't fall asleep when reading aloud to the kids! And, I must say, looking at her list sparked a bit of library envy. . .


March 01, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Elvish Lullaby

Sing all ye joyful, now sing all together!
The wind's in the tree-top, the wind's in the heather;
The stars are in blossom, the moon is in flower,
And bright are the windows of Night in her tower.

Dance all ye joyful, now dance all together!
Soft is the grass, and let foot be like feather!
The river is silver, the shadows are fleeting;
Merry is May-time, and merry our meeting.

Sing we now softly, and dreams let us weave him!
Wind him in slumber and there let us leave him!
The wanderer sleepeth. Now soft be his pillow!
Lullaby! Lullaby! Alder and Willow!

Sigh no more Pine, till the wind of the morn!
Fall Moon! Dark be the land!
Hush! Hush! Oak, Ash and Thorn!
Hushed be all water, till dawn is at hand!

From J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit

I picked up The Hobbit for J7 on Monday. He finished it by bedtime on Tuesday night. It's getting harder to keep him in books.

I reread The Hobbit this week, too. I read it and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, oh. . . 14 years ago? I enjoyed it, but forgot so much of it. We've enjoyed the movies immensely, though, and I think I'll be rereading the trilogy soon.


February 12, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (1)  |  Permalink



January Books

Finished Reading

"In the Pond: A Novel" Ha Jin
"Ronia, The Robber's Daughter" Astrid Lindgren
"The Phantom Tollbooth" Norton Juster
"The Last Samurai" Helen Dewitt
"Winter's Heart" Robert Jordan
"Crossroads of Twilight" Robert Jordan
"Where the Heart Is" Billie Letts

Still Reading

"Families Where Grace is in Place" Jeff VanVonderen
"Relational Parenting" Ross Campbell
"Lizard" Banana Yoshimoto


RealSimple back issues
"Commentary on John" John Calvin
"Heartfelt Discipline" Clay Clarkson
"Selected Poems" William Blake

Read With the Boys

"The Magician's Nephew" C.S. Lewis
"The Velveteen Rabbit" Margery Williams
"Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" J. K. Rowling (Hubby read)

J7 Finished Reading

"Ronia, The Robber's Daughter" Astrid Lindgren
"The Phantom Tollbooth" Norton Juster
"The Book of Three" Lloyd Alexander
The Black Cauldron" Lloyd Alexander
"Johnny Appleseed" Eva Moore
"The Bible ABC Book"
"The Trojan Horse" Emily Little
"Curious George Goes Hiking"
"The Mitten: A Ukranian Folktale" Adapted by Jan Brett
J7 has read other books--I'll have to get his list from him and update this later.

T6 Finished Reading

"Pan and the Mad Man"
"The Fat Cat"


February 02, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Pan is a tan-man-ram.

At the beginning of our school year, I asked each of the boys what they wanted to learn about. T6 mournfully said, "I want you to teach me to read, but I don't think I'll ever learn."

He's known his letter sounds for a while, and can sound out short words. But the "reading" just didn't click.

Today he took a long nap, and so was wide awake when the rest of the boys were in bed. I snuggled him on my lap and got out the first reader from the Veritas Press Phonics Museum.

He was hesitant, but started sounding out the title. "P-aaaaa-nnn. Pan. Aaaaaannnnd. And. The. Mmmmmaaaaaad. Mmmmmmmaaaaaannnn. Pan and the Mad Man!"

He read all the way through the "short a" reader. Halfway through, he jumped up and ran out of the room, "Daddy! Daddy! I'm really reading!"


January 19, 2004  |  Comments (5)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Ronia, the Robber's Daughter

The fact was that Lovis liked to sing while she was having her baby. It made things easier, she insisted, and the baby would probably be all the jollier if it arrived on earth to the sound of a song.

When Hubby reported his book finds this week, he neglected to mention the treasure I came across. Years ago, my friend Rachel told me how much her family liked Astrid Lindgren's Ronia, the Robber's Daughter.

I wasn't prepared, though, for how the opening paragraphs capture the sheer joy and amazement that accompany the birth of a child.

"I've got a child! Do you hear me -- I've got a child!" "What sort of child is it?" asked Noddle-Pete over in his corner. "A robber's daughter, joy and gladness!" shouted Matt. "A robber's daugther -- here she comes!"

January 17, 2004  |  Comments (6)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



Simple Celebrity

Check out the February issue of RealSimple magazine.

My friend Ellen is featured in it in the Portrait of a Marriage article. Not only is she a great wife, but she's a fabulous friend. She's sent me homeschooling magazines, books for the kids, and so much encouragement since we moved overseas.


January 15, 2004  |  Comments (18)  |  TrackBack (0)  |  Permalink



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